The Dine Out Vancouver listings came out yesterday, which is an exciting day in my book. I can’t line up quite as many nights out as I used to, but you’d be surprised how many places you can check out with kids in tow. If you’ve missed this phenomenon before, Dine Out is a restaurant festival that started as a way to get Vancouverites to check out their local restaurants in the slowest month of the year. Each restaurant has a multi-course set menu available, for $30 or $40. It’s a low pressure way to try somewhere new.
Tips for doing Dine Out with kids
You know your children best – if they can handle sitting still for awhile, go for somewhere a little bit posh. Book for the early slots, at 5pm or even 6pm, things are calmer and quieter in the restaurant, and staff have more time. Call ahead if you’re concerned about menu items. Skip the places that won’t do reservations – line-ups can get crazy for Dine Out, and it’s not worth it to queue with impatient small people just to sit in one spot for an hour. Many of the restaurants offer a lunch option, which will always be more casual than dinner and simpler with kids.
I can bring my kids there?!
I have personally brought my 6-year-old son to Forage, Provence Marinade, and Minami – all were great with kids. There are high chairs, and Minami even had a sushi-themed colouring page and a secret kids menu. Provence has lots of options that are kid-friendly – excellent bread and butter, amazing meatballs, and pasta. Forage was the least flexible in terms of menu items, but their menu is hyper-local and seasonal, so that’s not surprising. The staff were very helpful though, and worked with us to find something for him to eat.
Definitely try these
Rocky Mountain Flatbread, a firm family favourite, is offering a three-course menu for $30 at both their locations. The incredible Bella Gelateria in Yaletown is also offering a three-course menu for $30, including some of their famous gelato at the end of it, and that should be enough to get you there. They’ve got a lunch special too. Tap & Barrel (above) are doing an impressive three-course $20 menu including their burger, which is normally $16, so that’s a deal right there. Plus they have colouring pages and a good kids menu.
On my list to try this year
I definitely want to get to Salmon ’n Bannock Bistro (above), with their modern First Nations menu – slow-roasted bison ribs sound amazing. Yokohama Teppanyaki Japanese in Richmond sounds like great fun, though I suspect if you have reaching toddlers you’d want to skip a place that has a hot griddle on your table. Campagnolo has been on my list every since I heard they have a specific lasagna night, because they spend so much time making it, they can’t have it on their regular menu. It’s not on their Dine Out menu, but the green apple cake with salted caramel makes up for it.
Is there anywhere you’d like to try this year?
The 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival runs from January 15th to January 31st, but book now on dineoutvancouver.com
Image credits: Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Minami, Tap & Barrel/Erin McGann, Salmon ‘n Bannock Bistro